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Letter to Speaker Boehner

Letter

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Today, Cheri Bustos, candidate for Congress in Illinois' 17th Congressional District, sent a letter to Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John Boehner in advance of his trip to Rockford, Ill. tomorrow inviting him to also make a visit to the Village of Thomson, home of Thomson Correctional Center. The sale of this prison in Thomson continues to hang in the balance, not because of lack of local support, but because of one Congressman.

In her letter, Bustos points out to Speaker Boehner that "partisan politics in Washington have left the prison in Thomson empty for years, but you have an opportunity to change that and, in the process, generate more than 1,100 jobs and an estimated $1 billion of economic activity in communities across northwest Illinois."

She goes on to mention, "our Congressman, Bobby Schilling, has recently picked up this cause after helping to obstruct the sale for more than a year. But he's been unable to persuade his colleague, Congressman Frank Wolf from Virginia, to have a similar change of heart."

In addition to the visit, Bustos also seeks action: "Let me take this opportunity to respectfully request that you have Congressman Wolf lift his protest immediately." And emphasizes that "we need these jobs in this region, and we need them now. The unemployment rate in Carroll County, where Thomson is located, stands at 9.4 percent. In nearby Stephenson County, the rate is 9.7 percent. And in Winnebago County, where you will be campaigning tomorrow, the rate is 11.5 percent, the second highest in the state."

The sale of Thomson enjoys bipartisan support from members of the Illinois and Iowa Congressional delegations as well as broad-based local and state support. Sale of the facility will lead to significant job creation, more than 1,100 jobs, and will infuse an estimated $1 billion into the region's economy. The sale will also help alleviate serious federal prison overcrowding, currently running as high as 50 percent over rated capacity, and help increase the safety of the system's prison guards.

Full text of the letter is below:

August 9, 2012

The Honorable John Boehner
Speaker
United States House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Speaker Boehner:

I'm writing to respectfully request that you make time in your visit to northwest Illinois to stop in the Village of Thomson - home to a state-of-the-art prison, built by Illinois taxpayers, which has been awaiting purchase by the federal government.

Partisan politics in Washington have left the prison in Thomson empty for years, but you have an opportunity to change that and, in the process, generate more than 1,100 jobs and an estimated $1 billion of economic activity in communities across northwest Illinois. And, as you must know, turning Thomson Correctional Center into a federal maximum-security prison also will help alleviate serious overcrowding of our federal prison system.

Our Congressman, Bobby Schilling, has recently picked up this cause after helping to obstruct the sale for more than a year. But he's been unable to persuade his colleague, Congressman Frank Wolf from Virginia, to have a similar change of heart. Perhaps you might have better luck with him?

It is my hope that since Congressman Schilling appears to have your ear, that the long-overdue sale of Thomson's prison has come up before now, but in case it hasn't, let me take this opportunity to respectfully request that you have Congressman Wolf lift his protest immediately.

Talk to local leaders, business leaders and workers across the region. Regardless of what party we claim, we've all been waiting for Thomson to open for years. We need these jobs in this region and we need them now. The unemployment rate in Carroll County, where Thomson is located, stands at 9.4 percent. In nearby Stephenson County, the rate is 9.7 percent. And, in Winnebago County, where you will be campaigning tomorrow, the rate is 11.5 percent, the second highest in the state.

I know you likely have a full travel schedule, and that fundraising for Congressman Schilling is your priority, but please give this request serious consideration. Come to Thomson and hear firsthand how important this sale is to all of us.

People across Illinois are frustrated and convinced that common sense doesn't exist in Washington, but you have an opportunity to prove them wrong.

Regards,

Cheri Bustos


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